Indian Embassy’s festival delights Urdu lovers in Saudi Arabia

Jeddah:  The Indian Embassy in Riyadh and the New Delhi-based National Council for the Promotion of Urdu Language (NCPUL) have announced an international Urdu conference to be held in Saudi Arabia. The Indian ambassador to the Kingdom, Dr. Ausaf Sayeed, and the council’s president, Dr. Aqeel Ahmed Sheikh, made the announcement during the two-day virtual Urdu festival, Jashn-e-Urdu, that was broadcast live in Saudi Arabia.

Sheikh said that the NCPUL is committed to work for the promotion and development of Urdu wherever possible. It is ready to extend full support and cooperation for any activity promoting Urdu, even in foreign countries. The ambassador said that the grand international Urdu conference would be held in Saudi Arabia in cooperation with the NCPUL after the lifting of restrictions imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The ambassador said that Urdu had always served to unite people. Many slogans of the freedom struggle such as, “Jai Hind,” “Karo Ya Maro” and “Inquilab Zindabad” instilled a desire for freedom in the hearts of many Indians, regardless of caste or religion. Due to the slogans many people took part in the freedom struggle. “Urdu is the language of brotherhood and secularism which is the best example of unity in diversity. Ganga-Jamuni civilization is the main feature of Urdu, which has eliminated cultural, religious, and linguistic barriers among people for thousands of years.”

Well-known storyteller Javed Danish presented The Story of Migration in his unique style. The story, based on the plight of immigrants, was well-received and appreciated by all.

Prof. Safdar Imam Qadri presented an essay titled “Storytelling Past and Present,” in which he too dealt with the main features of migration.

Popular columnist K.N. Wasif presented a sketch on the personality of Dr. Ausaf Sayeed, describing him as “Safeer-e-Shahr-e-Dil” (ambassador of the city of heart). Calligrapher Ghouse Arsalan presented an essay on the art of sketch writing.

The editor of Hyderabad-based Gawah Urdu Weekly, Dr. Syed Fazil Hussain Pervez, introduced the Urdu writers, poets, journalists, and literary figures of Saudi Arabia. The Jeddah-based poet, founder and president of Urdu Gulban, Mahtab Qadr, conducted the proceedings in an elegant manner. The programme coordinator, second secretary at the Indian Embassy, Asim Anwar, presented the vote of thanks.

On the second day of the festival, an online mushaira (poetic symposium) was organized in which Indian Urdu poets from different countries participated. The mushaira was presided over by Irfan Jafri who delighted the audience with his poetry.

Other poets who participated were Tariq Ghazi, Mahtab Qadr, Afsar Barabankwi, Shiraz Mahdi Zia, Altaf Shahryar, Masood Hassas, Khursheedul Hasan Nayyer, Rafia Nausheen, Syed Baqar Naqvi, Dr. Raouf Khair, Abu Taher Bilal, Sadiqa Nawab Saher, Tasneem Jawher and Naser Barni. The well-known anchor, Aslam Afghani, served as master of ceremonies.

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